Wired for Trauma

It is my understanding that alcoholics can actually die if they do not have alcohol and need to be weaned off the drug. This is our brain, it adapts to a situation and goes with it. Like wild animals that lose the ability to forage and hunt because humans have fed them, our minds are also susceptible to the environment.

Biologically, our brains have evolved to ensure our safety. Ancestors learned to avoid dangers like poisonous plants and ferocious wildlife by first-hand experience. Just as a toddler learns never to touch a hot stove top after trying one time. The memory is burned into the neurons.

Today there are still plenty of dangers, however many of us live far more comfortably than our ancestors. The biological system still exists and comes at us in new ways. To protect ourselves from a boss' wrath we've learned to work late. Our protection system works overtime to shield us from emotional pain and maybe even emotional pleasure.

I was walking the dog and thinking about a recent misunderstanding. Pardon me if I cannot recall exact details to create a better story. As a misunderstanding it was cleared up once myself and my partner communicated. There was no need to be upset. Yet, we cannot control our emotions only how we react to them. That emotional trigger locked the event in my head like a hot stove. As I walked the dog, my chest tightened thinking I better never do that again. We resolved the issue. However, I seemed to have retained the trauma of the misunderstanding anyway.

I had to tell myself the story of the misunderstanding again, but it was like reciting a script I had seen for the first time to my brain. It was numb. The emotional reaction and charge was all in the first 'negative' reaction, do not do that again!

As I said above, the story is not a great one without more concrete details. Unfortunately, I cannot recall them at the moment. I only know the anxiety and fear I felt. It still follows me. Have I bottled up the misunderstanding in hopes to ignore it? Did my chat with myself during the dog walk help to take the charge away and that's why I don't remember? Or, am I going to be transported back to that space and emotional feeling the next time something similar happens?

Biologically, I am wired to protect myself. My neural pathways have taken this factor to superhuman levels. It is one thing to recall the trauma of my father's death and quite another to hold onto trauma of a simple misunderstanding. I can hope that I may have processed the trauma from the recent event. Though, I know that my brain has a sixth sense that detects when I have done something wrong. It retains anything that may be construed as 'proof' of my incompetence. I seek that information out. Sometimes it feels like my body and mind need it like a drug dependency. My sixth sense is shame.